History Final Paper

Submitted By Jmcinturff
Words: 1186
Pages: 5

Ben McInturff
American History
Donald Sexton
12/02/14
Changes in the United States from 1776 to 1861

Throughout the history of the United States there have been many important changes. From the time America became independent from Great Brittan up until the civil war there was a vast number of changes during a relatively short period of time. These changes had a huge impact in shaping American into what it is today. One major change that took place in between 1776 and 1861 is westward expansion. For the first time settlers started moving West of the Appalachian Mountains into unchartered territory starting farms and claiming huge amounts of land. Another thing that took place during this time frame was huge advancements in transportation. For years the only form of transportation was horse, sailboat or a river raft but this all changed when the steam engine was invented. Because of the steam engine the steam boat and the train became the primary form of transportation and shipping. The final major change that occurred during this time is the rise of industrialism. This transformation from a nation of strictly agriculture to a nation of a mixed economy did not happen overnight. The transition towards manufacturing and industrialism was slowly occurring throughout this entire time period. These three changes have had a huge impact on the United States and they all played a major role in making America what it is today. One very important change that occurred during the early nineteenth century what the movement of Americans to the West. Before the revolutionary war there were no settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains but that quickly changed. Brinkley states that:
“The westward movement of the white American population was one of the most important developments of the nineteenth century. It occurred for several reasons. One was population growth, which drove many white Americans out of the crowed East. Between 1800 and 1820, the American population nearly doubled – from 5.3 million to 9.6 million. Most Americans were still farmers, and the agricultural lands of the East were now largely occupied or exhausted. In the South, the spread of the plantation system limited opportunities for new settlers. (Brinkley 184)
With the land in the East being crowed and exhausted it was only natural for Americans to begin moving westward. There are several reasons that westward expansion was important. One reason is that the new large amounts of free land available made it possible for the common man to own his own land, not just the rich aristocrats or plantation owners. Back in this time land ownership was very important, most states wouldn’t even allow a white man to vote unless he was a land owner. Another reason that westward expansion was very important to the United States is that when settlers moved West they eventually created states, and these states were farm states. This later created huge controversies over slavery because it created an imbalance of slave states and non-slave states, which eventually led to the Missouri compromise in 1820. Westward expansion helped shape America in many ways, it caused many unforeseen consequences leading to several other changes in American culture. Another change that was happening in America between 1776 and 1861 was the major advancements in transportation. Before this time the only forms of transportation were sailboats, river rafts and horses. The development of the steamboat changed everything. At first they were built to carry people but that was not the only thing that the steam boats could carry. They were eventually built to ship goods as well. These steam boats could be loaded down with Virginia tobacco or Georgia cotton and get these goods to global markets faster than ever. The railroads were another very important transportation advancement, perhaps the most important in all of American history. Brinkley states that, “Railroads played a relatively small role in the…